As the Barossa’s oldest public building, the chapel’s history forms part of a rich tapestry of local church activities from the time of settlement. Built in 1844 to provide a place of worship for people of all denominations, this church became a meeting place for many years before falling into a state of disrepair and being utilised as a farm building.
When 19-year-old John Howard Angas arrived in South Australia in 1843, his job was to manage the interests of his father, George Fife Angas. A Baptist and a dedicated believer in religious freedom, George Angas had extensive interests in the infant colony of South Australia. He had been instrumental in assisting the Lutheran migrants who travelled to the Barossa from Germany and Prussia in the late 1830s to escape religious persecution.
In accordance with his father’s instructions, John Angas was assigned the task of establishing a chapel that could be used by all denominations. John planned and supervised the building’s construction, which was undertaken in 1844. It was to be eleven metres long, six metres wide, seat 100 people and provide for a baptismal cavity.
Originally known as the Free Chapel, the building’s walls were built from stone quarried nearby. Inset high on the southern wall was a large stone engraved with the words ‘German Pass’ (Angaston’s former name). Upon completion, the chapel and the land on which it stands, were donated to the community by George Angas.